Sarah’s Maternity Session

Sarah & Blake | Maternity Session

 

Sarah and Blake’s maternity session was a particularly special shoot. Sarah and I have been childhood friends since we were the age of three and have managed to maintain a healthy, supportive friendship for the last 25 years — especially through all of life’s events, changes, and  many moves. It was an honor to photograph Sarah’s maternity session and capture their excitement.

Sarah and Blake reside in Franklin, Virginia, where Blake operates his own turf farm, and Sarah is busy working as an occupational therapist for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. They have been happily married for 3 years, but have been together for a total of 6! Both Sarah and Blake are enjoying focusing on the arrival of their newborn and embracing the changes that they are going through together.

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It’s A Boy!

Baby Walker Thomas Phillips is due October 8th and the parents-to-be are quite excited. While he will be their first baby, the couple considers Walker’s fur sibling, Brutus, to be just as special and loved. Brutus still isn’t quite sure what to think about all of the new differences in his life, between moving into a new home and the set up of a nursery — which they have decorated in a neutral theme, except for a pop of bright colors dotted throughout.

Sarah says she is most excited about getting to see what her newborn will look like and who he will resemble the most. One of the things she has ultimately enjoyed about her pregnancy is feeling him move and says it is such a surreal feeling, one that she is certain she will miss once he’s here!

The soon-to-be parents have been given advice from their loved ones about their successes and blunders in parenthood, and have been showered with an abundance of love and support from their friends and family. All of these, in turn, have helped them prepare for this next chapter in their lives of parenthood. I am ecstatic to celebrate in life’s newest changes for them and cannot wait to welcome Baby Walker into the world.

Maggie & Chas ⎸A Walk to Remember.

Maggie & Chas' engagement session at River Road Farms in Franklin, Virginia

Maggie and Chas’s engagement session, located at the beautiful River Road Farm in Franklin, Virginia was full of laughter, dancing and chit chat about their upcoming wedding. It was a cool morning in August that we spent roaming the hay fields, pastures, and farm lands looking for the picture perfect spots.

The couple picked an ideal location to showcase their interests. Both Maggie and Chas love to be outdoors — whether that means they’re hiking, walking their dog, or taking trips to places they’ve never been before. On Saturdays during college football season, you can bet that Chas will be rooting for Tennessee while Maggie is pulling for her VT Hokies! They may be sipping on their favorite homemade limon/watermelon mojitos, especially if the two teams decide to play each other again. And on Sundays, you can find them at their favorite breakfast spot, the Roanoker, before going to church.

In fact, it was during one of these beloved activities that “the proposal” happened. As Maggie describes it, “it was a normal morning”, consisting of blueberry waffles and sausage for breakfast. They walked their dog, Coal, like normal, stopping briefly at a bridge over the river that ran between two parks. Maggie had turned her back for a second taking in the view and when she turned around, she discovered Chas down on one knee professing his love for her. Most of what Chas said was a blur, Maggie recalls, but of course she said “Yes!” and they laughed and cried joyfully. This is one walk they’ll remember for years to come.

Maggie will make a gorgeous bride for their summertime wedding in June of next year. I look forward to photographing their special day and know it will be magical, if these pictures are any inkling of what’s to come.

Made it to the One Year mark!

Hooray! It has been One Year!

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365 days since I stepped out from under the corporate world of stability, routine, and complacency. 365 days since I stepped into the life of unknowns, 100% commission, and building a business of my own focused on the craft of photography. While also focusing on the freedoms and rewards that come with owning, operating, and managing my very own, one (wo)man business. I’ve enjoyed making my own decisions, flexible schedule, and deciding how I want to run my business while providing an exceptional service and product to my wonderful, loyal clients. I could easily write down all the goals I have met along the way, and all of my personal accomplishments in the last year, but that’s not how I measure my business’ success. I can only measure it with the many lessons I have learned. The uncomfortable, hard-fought, hours-long lessons that have taught me to be a better photographer, a better entrepreneur, and an even better businesswoman.

I have failed at some things. I have been rejected. I have been so defeated, I’ve wanted to call it quits. I have been in situations where I’ve had no idea how to handle them. It’s been tough being the sole operator. I am the good guy, the bad guy, and everything in between. There’s no asking my boss for permission or to handle issues. There’s no referring to a seasoned coworker for their guidance. There’s just me working with what knowledge I have attained throughout my time in the corporate world, through attaining my bachelor’s degree, and through my certification in health coaching. All in all, I have relied on myself for the answers, making decisions based off of my morals, my gut feelings, and my knowledge base. I’ve learned how to wear many hats, juggle the daily tasks, and continue to be creative and open-minded in my photography.

The biggest reward has been delivering images to my clients from their sessions, events, and weddings days, the special moments I had the honor to capture with my camera. I receive the most enjoyment when I see my clients’ faces when first viewing their images.  Knowing I have documented a specific moment in time that they will never repeat, but can always cherish because of the images is immeasurable. It makes the long hours and difficult times so worth it.

Somehow along the way, I have luckily built a tribe of wonderful people to have on my side when I am faced with difficult moments or need the extra encouragement. These people have offered their unwavering support, professional advice, and empowerment to make the right decisions. They have taught me how to sell my brand, how to photograph in unfavorable circumstances, how to build my online presence, and so much more. They have also celebrated my wins knowing how hard I worked to get that W.  They have also mourned some of my losses, reminding me to get back on my feet to try again.  Without my tribe of people, I wouldn’t be as knowledgable, as confident, as empowered to continue this journey to continue my passion.

Running a business isn’t for the faint of heart and sometimes I have wondered if I am strong enough to do it. I have questioned myself if this is really what I am meant to do, but I have this internal curiosity, much like a cat. A curiosity to see what is around the next corner, what lesson I can learn from the next inquiry, what will come from the next photography opportunity.  I’ve learned I can’t give up because I owe it to myself to keep trying.  Because if I don’t try, then I won’t learn or grow.  If I don’t grow, I will just be mediocre.  If I don’t try to be better than I was the day before, the photo session before, the client before, then I am only guaranteeing myself not to succeed. So success and growth is what I will continue to chase with my curious mind.

I’ve learned to face adversity with open arms, inviting in what I don’t know and tackling what I can. My first year in business has been nothing shy of successful, full of old and new clients, exciting photography opportunities, and new endeavors and paths to entertain.  My business has pushed me, challenged me, and forced me to be uncomfortable and to be better. The growth that has happened in those uncomfortable moments is immeasurable. I welcome Year 2 and gladly look forward to the new lessons I will learn, and the amazing clients I will have the opportunity to work with, giving them images of the special moments in time that they will be able to enjoy and cherish for a lifetime.

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Photo 72 & 73 – The Fan

There is something to be said about a home.

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It is a location where we create a space of peace and comfort; a place that most effectively represents our own selves. It is a collection of chachkas, momentos, hand-me-downs, handcrafted furniture, well-loved pieces, and endless memories.

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People choose to showcase their most prized possessions, whether it be a collection of fine wine or a intricate hand-painted vase picked up on a recent trip. The value of these items is found in their personal definition of a prized possession. It could be a library of classic books, a collage of family snapshots, a restored 1950’s vintage hutch, or an assortment of snow globes from around the world. Their home says everything about what is important to them. People are proud to provide a visual look down memory lane into what they’ve found stylish, what they love, what gives them comfort. Walk into an acquaintance’s home, take a second to look around, what is it they are passionate about? It will be easier to tell than you think.

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Photos 72 and 73 of the #365PhotoChallenge represent the years of time and hard work to make this adorable condo in The Fan Gallery into a comfortable, inviting home.

Photo 71 – Home on the Range

Moo! Meet Emma Cow, the domesticated black angus who was orphaned at birth and adopted by her human family! The big girl is now going on 5 years of age. Time surely flies by and she has certainly grown up to be a “large and in-charge,” sassy gal. She has remained very loyal to her humans and recognizes them especially when they bring special treats and scratching tools. (Cows are extremely itchy.)

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Who would have thought a cow has so much personality and intelligence? Given the right conditions (bottle raised and hand-fed right after birth), proper attention, and love, Emma Cow has turned into quite the pet. Although she only stays on the farm with her fellow cow friends, she enjoys any and all visitors especially at the yearly Harvest Festival in October when she gets the “oohs and ahhs” from 50+ children and adults.

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Emma started out the size of a 25 pound dog with long, stick legs, and in 5 years she has turned into a beefy 1500 pound, massive cow! No need to be afraid of her size, she is as gentle and sweet as they come. (Unless you try to ride her, which is a whole other story!)

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Enjoy Photo 71 of 365 for the 365 Photo Challenge! Follow Emma Cow and her antics on Facebook

Photo 65 & 66 – Baby Ben

There’s something so intriguing about watching a tiny human morph before your eyes into a real person. I’ve had the pleasure to encounter this over the last 9 months with Ben. Every time I see him, he has learned a new “trick” or more formally, a new cognitive behavior. At 9 months, he is full of laughter, curiosity, and 6 teeth.  He is trying to feed himself, play with musical toys, and make sense of the world around him. Watching him learn and grow reminds me that, we as adults, can also learn a lot from children and how they see the world. Even though they may not cognitively understand every aspect of life, they are living in the present and taking in the world that is around them. Enjoying the many different sights, sounds, and feelings, these developing babies have the opportunity to relish in the wonderful parts of life. Enjoy photo 65 and 66 of #365photochallenge

Photo 64 – HydroYES!

Recently learned about an awesome new store that just opened up in mid-February here in Winston Salem called Colony Urban Farm Store. I’ve been following them on Facebook and decided to check it out today. And WOW, they are providing very different products than one would be used to seeing in a farm store. Colony Urban is a small, family owned and operated store specializing in supplies for backyard chicken keeping, beekeeping, hydroponics and much more! They also sell seeds, local honey, eggs, cheese, and beeswax candles to name a few. Josh (co-owner) spent 30 minutes teaching us about the ins-and-outs of hydroponic gardening and to say the least, we are hooked! We will be back again! Check them out!

Photo 64 of 365 is of the fast growing sweet pepper plants grown hydroponically at Urban Colony Farm Store.

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img_0480(Entrance to Urban Farm Colony)

Photo 63 – Sunshine, a Sweater, & a Sunroof

There are so many unanswered questions in regards to the weather lately….

– Is it still Winter or has it turned into Spring?

– Do I wear a sweater or a t-shirt today?

– Is it going to storm or snow? 

Your answers are as good as mine. It looks like Spring with all the daffodils & tree blossoms; it feels like Spring with the warmer, brighter days; and it definitely sounds like Spring with all the chirping birds enjoying this unseasonably warm weather. But according to Punxsutawney Phil on February 2nd, we are supposed to have 6 more weeks of a cold winter! I think he was hung over from the night before. It is indeed Spring! (minus the 27 degree nights and frosty mornings…shhhh.)

To celebrate this early Spring onset, I drove around in my car with the sunroof open, sunglasses on, sweater over my t-shirt, and heat on full blast so I could soak up the sun’s rays and enjoy the warm 53 degree weather!

Keep it coming Mother Nature!

Photo 63 of 365:

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Photo 62 – First Time Blogger

First and foremost, I’m a photographer, not a writer.  There, I said it.  Glad that is out of the way, so you can forgive me later!

I’ve always found it easier to express myself through creative means, such as drawing, painting, creating floral arrangements, etc.  Obviously, I did not pursue those areas as a career nor did I dare take up the creative writing path for a reason.  Putting my thoughts, feelings, expressions into words just was never appealing.  Getting stuck on the first sentence of any high school essay or college paper was a routine part of “putting pen to paper” or more commonly known as “fingers to keyboard.”

Photography is different. It has always come easy to me.  From teaching myself how to manually use a DSLR camera to properly posing my human and animal subjects, I found it rewarding and fun!  As the years and many photo sessions have added up, it has become easier to use photography as a way of expressing myself creatively in ways that I haven’t been able to with words. And by somehow, someway this passion continues to grow and inspire me.

That is where this blog comes into play, which I am not choosing to do willingly, but because I want to share my inspirations, daily photo documentations, and behind-the-scenes on a different platform for people to view. So here it goes! My creative images alongside a bunch of words! Enjoy!

I’m a little late to the blogging party, but I am not late to my 365 Photo Challenge party. Let me catch you up on this little personal goal of mine for 2017.

The rules:

  1. Take one photo with my camera every day of 2017.
  2. Post one photo every day of 2017.

So here is Photo 62 of 365:

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